I was born in January during a snowstorm, and on the way to the hospital while my poor mom was in labor, my dad stopped at Tim Horton‘s to get a double double. This could explain why I love the winter, and hate coffee. Nonetheless, for my 25th birthday I wanted to do something wintery. Hollywood lied and London doesn’t actually ever get snow, so I had to travel north. Something I always wanted to do was dog sledding and Latvia offered it, weather dependent of course.
I booked my flights in October (£35 return!) flying with RyanAir and assembled a 15 person strong crew.
We used HostelWorld to book in at the Naughty Squirrel Backpacker Hostel – which was AMAZING! The staff went over the moon to get all 15 of us sorted and even greeted us with (several rounds) of welcome shots! Cheers to that!
We booked the dog sledding through the hostel and prayed for snow! Mother Nature was on our side because days before arriving, Latvia was hit was a massive snow storm! The hostel arranged everything and an Aussie abroad picked up us to take us to the Latvian countryside for a day of dogs, snow, and laughs.
We drove for about 30 minutes from the capital and watched the city quickly disappear and transform into vacant fields of white. When we arrived in the backcountry, we drove through a tiny semi-plowed driveway and came to a little cabin-like building on the far corner of the yard. There were heaps of beautiful huskies everywhere! They were much tinier than I was picturing but as we soon found out, mighty.
We all partnered up in groups of two; one driving the sleigh and the other sitting on it, and selected our dogs! Once we were all roped in and secured, the leader took off driving in a Jeep to steer the pack along the track. Of course, I ended up being the last duo in line and got stuck a bit behind the rest of the pack.
Suddenly, half way through the tour, all the dogs were ordered to HALT! There was someone in the trees going for a casual horse ride through the snow and the dogs were going M E N T A L. All my dogs got wrapped around the surrounding trees and each other, losing their minds! The horse got spooked and went up on its’ hind legs with the rider still on top! Meanwhile, I was driving the sleigh and had to STOMP on the break with all my weight trying to prevent them from flying full-speed ahead! It was manic, slightly humorous and equally terrifying!
When we got back to the cabin, we got to play around with the doggies, it was the best! I got so many husky kisses for my birthday – best.gift.EVAR! Who needs a man, AMIRIGHT??
Latvia, there’s so much left uncovered I want to experience, I will 100% be back!
Have you ever gone dog sledding before? Did you have a near-death experience, too? Tell me in the comments below!